United States Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter is set to name his first CONCACAF Nations League roster on Wednesday, selecting the players that will be available when they take on Cuba on October 11th in Washington, DC and then hit the road to Toronto to face Canada on October 15th. Fans will be curious to see whether Berhalter takes Nations League seriously by calling in his best lineup or if he uses the Nations League group stage matches over the next two months to continue to evaluate fringe players. In either case, the USMNT will want to take care of business against Cuba and get a result in the north against a Canadian side that is trying to get a big win to help them qualifying for the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying.
There are still some players, like Tyler Adams, DeAndre Yedlin, and John Brooks, who would make any roster if not for their current injuries. Timothy Weah would also be someone under consideration, but he too is still not playing due to injury. Still, there are others who are playing well and present some options for Berhalter to consider.
So, keeping in mind that this is an official competition and the roster is likely limited to 23 participants, who will Gregg Berhalter call in for these next two matches? It’s likely he opts for what he considers his best available roster:
DEFENDERS (7): Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Sergiño Dest (Ajax), Omar Gonzalez (Toronto FC), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Tim Ream (Fulham), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles Football Club)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Schalke 04), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
For the goalkeepers, Berhalter will once again go with Zack Steffen as his starter, who has been playing extremely well for Fortuna Düsseldorf so far this season. Sean Johnson and Brad Guzan will back him up, as those two are the goalkeepers that Berhalter prefers in his system.
On defense, expect Sergiño Dest to be called in and start against Cuba, much to the delight of many USMNT fans. Omar Gonzalez may cause some angst among the fanbase, but it’s likely that Berhalter will bring him back into the fold as one of his centerbacks.
In the middle, Michael Bradley will return after missing last month’s friendlies due to Toronto FC’s multiple matches during the international window, but Paxton Pomykal likely impressed enough to make this roster as well. Christian Pulisic, who was listed as a forward on last month’s roster, will be listed as a midfielder this time, but will obviously be worked into the attack in some way.
Up front, Jozy Altidore and Paul Arriola make it back on the team after missing last month’s friendlies, and Josh Sargent has been playing pretty well for Werder Bremen and makes the team as well. Tyler Boyd is consistently starting and playing well for Beşiktaş and he will also get some playing time. It will be an interesting battle between him and Arriola to see who starts on the left wing, but Arriola also has the versatility to play further back if needed.
Hit the comments to let us know who you think makes the cut when Gregg Berhalter names his squad on Wednesday.